In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn’t think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict — and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.

Why you should listen:

Budrus is a Palestinian agricultural village in the West Bank that relies on its olive groves. And Budrus is a documentary about what happened in the village when Israeli authorities tried to uproot those olive groves to build a barrier. The villagers resisted, peacefully, for 10 months, with leader Ayed Morrar helping to unite Fatah, Hamas, the villagers, and Israeli supporters in nonviolent protest. Most vital, Palestinian women, including Morrar’s daughter, took a leading role.

It’s a story that Julia Bacha found tailor-made for Just Vision, an organization that uses film and storytelling to “Increase the power and legitimacy of Palestinians and Israelis working for nonviolent solutions to the conflict.” A break in the endless stalemate, she believes, must come from the bottom up. And the way to help the process is to show the humanity of those working for change. Bacha was also the co-director of Encounter Point, featured during Pangea Day in 2008 — a feature documentary film about four ordinary people, on both sides of the conflict, who lost nearly everything but who nevertheless work for an end to occupation in favor of peace.

She says: “We are providing alternative role models. I have seen people challenged, inspired and motivated to take action based on the stories we tell.”

What others say:

“’Budrus’ [offers] an intimate, cinéma vérité glimpse of a world viewers would otherwise never see, not to mention cheering news from a region better known for cyclical tragedy.” — Washington Post


  1. Why do people use violent rather than nonviolent methods of resistance?
  1. Do an historical study of the possession of West Bank and Gaza from 1000 BC until today.
  1. What could the US learn in Afghanistan from the story of Budrus?
  1. Someone said, “We must empty our minds of traditional thinking.” Discuss a time in your life when this was true?
  1. What does she mean about the “power of attention”?
  1. Is there a modern equivalent to her movie that could be used to resolve social problems?

Pay attention to nonviolence with Julia Bacha


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